my year of knitting dangerously
I was disappointed in this book. I expected to be guided by an expert knitter through the maze of possible information sources on patterns and yarns and other knitting resources.
I got really mad when I read the denouement (Lana is what she's nicknamed the sweater for the year she spends knitting the incredibly complex pattern):
Once Lana is bone dry, I strip off the machine-made cardigan I have on and prepare for my first moments wearing her. It's here that I expect to feel rapture, when I can get away with ending this story with a "Wearing Mary Tudor: priceless" line. Damn the clichÃ©. Here's the kicker: my sweater, which cost hundreds of both dollars and hours, doesn't fit.
The sleeves are a good six inches too short. I can't close the front over my ample bust. My linebacker shoulders stretch the collar too wide.
I can understand about the bust. I have an ample bust myself, and I frequently find blouses that fit well in every other dimension, but pucker when buttoned over the chest. It's usually not a problem with knit garments, but stranded knitting (where two colors are used at once, and the unused color is carried across the stitches of the other color) isn't as stretchy as other kinds of knitting, so I can easily imagine a sweater planned perfectly for all the other dimensions not buttoning over the chest.
I don't have linebacker shoulders, so things that fit otherwise are usually ok in the shoulders, but I can imagine it being hard to get a given shape sweater to fit particularly large shoulders.
But six inches of error in the sleeves is just wrong. The sleeves in this pattern are knit down from the armholes, so if they turn out to be six inches too short, you unravel the cuff and knit some more pattern. Or if that's too much work, you make the cuffs 6 inches longer. It isn't very much work compared with all the other things she's done for this book.
That being said, I did find out about Alice Starmore, who is a very impressive designer. I've since read both Aran Knitting (from the library â€“ it's out of print) and Alice Starmore's book of Fair Isle Knitting (from Amazon â€“ knitting patterns take longer than the library loans you a book for). I've reorganized my knitting needles and yarn stash, and am working on a fair isle design incorporating a serpent for a sofa pillow.
So my advice is to skip the middleman and read the knitting books instead of the piece of hack writing about knitters and knitting books by someone who isn't really much of a knitter. But it's a fast read and does have some information about online knitting resources that you might not find as easily in google.